For teens, summer job is first step toward long-term success

Tuesday, September 2, 2014
The Boston Globe

Megan Woolhouse’s article “Teen jobs fall short of city’s target” (Page A1, Aug. 18) paints a sad but realistic picture of this summer’s teen employment in Boston.

Summer work experiences help teens increase job skills, develop higher career aspirations, and cultivate positive behavior, and these programs pay economic and social dividends down the line, leading to better employability and higher lifetime earnings. Teens who work are less likely to drop out of school, get involved in crime, or get pregnant. Furthermore, emerging evidence indicates that creating meaningful summer experiences for teens has value to society that extends far beyond the individual benefits.

By increasing teens’ lifetime earning potential, summer employment leads to a boost in their ability to contribute to the economy as consumers. Without steady employment, these young people may instead become more reliant on government-provided services such as welfare or food assistance. To many young people, having a summer job is their first step toward long-term self-sufficiency. As such, a teen’s personal success is tied to the overall success of our community. As Mayor Walsh has said, “Our young people will build the Boston of tomorrow.”

Deborah Kincade Rambo

President

Catholic Charities of Boston